SBD/19/Sports Media

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              During halftime of Sunday's NFC Championship Game, Fox
         Sports and the NFL announced a partnership to broadcast NFL
         Europe League regular-season games beginning this season. 
         The deal, which is in place for the '99 and 2000 seasons,
         includes the national broadcast on Fox of one NFLEL game on
         each of the league's final three Sundays, June 6, 13 and 20,
         and the broadcast of the '99 World Bowl on June 27.  FSN
         will also air one game-of-the-week beginning April 17 (NFL). 
              BUT ARE AFFILS HAPPY? News of the additional weekend
         sports programming comes as MEDIAWEEK's Freeman & Consoli
         write that Fox's reclaiming of weekend time "has raised
         concerns" among some affils over loss of spot inventory and
         contractual conflicts with syndicators.  Fox's recent pickup
         of some NTRA races and two women's pro tennis events, along
         with the NFLEL, has "several" Fox station execs saying "the
         network's ever-expanding sports slate may be a source of
         contention" at next week's affils meeting in New Orleans. 
         Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Vince Wladika: "Our
         affiliates have to realize that they are part of a network,
         and that live network sports programming has [increased] the
         value of their stations immensely" (MEDIAWEEK, 1/18 issue). 

    Print | Tags: NFL, Media

              "Fox Sports News"' Keith Olbermann commented on the
         "Esquire" article by Charles Pierce claiming former Dodger
         Kirk Gibson took steroids before his historic home-run
         during the '88 World Series.  Olbermann noted that Gibson
         received a cortisone shot, which is "not an anabolic,
         illegal, banned, growth or performance-enhancing steroid." 
         Olbermann: "It's just so unfair to drag Gibson into, and
         through, [controversy] merely because -- technically --
         cortisone is a steroid" ("FSN," 1/19)....The Padres have
         reached a five-year agreement with flagship station KURS-AM
         to allow the Spanish-language network to broadcast games in
         much of Baja California (S.D. UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/16)....In
         Miami, Barry Jackson reviewed the year in the NFL and wrote
         that CBS's AFC telecasts "were not awful or offensive" but
         "simply did not measure up to NBC's" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/18).
         ...ABC's lockout of 2,400 NABET employees ended Friday 
         (Mult., 1/16)....In N.Y., George Vecsey wrote that ESPN's
         "SportsCentury" series on the best North American athletes
         in the past century "will keep people talking for the entire
         year."  He added that ESPN "put on its journalistic hat" and
         "did its homework" as the series "seems legitimately rooted
         in history, by adults, for adults" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/17).  

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, NBC, NFL, San Diego Padres, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney

              Nielsen ratings for the NFL Conference Championships
         were "about even" with last year, according to USA TODAY's
         Rudy Martzke.  Fox's earned a 26.2 Nielsen overnight for the
         Falcons-Vikings, similar to last year's 26.1 rating for the
         Broncos-Steelers on NBC in the same time slot.  CBS's 27.3
         Nielsen overnight for the Jets-Broncos was down 1% from
         Fox's 27.7 for the Packers-49ers in the late time slot last
         year (USA TODAY, 1/19).  The Jets-Broncos earned a 30.0/52
         in the N.Y market, while the game earned a 54.4 rating in
         Denver.  The Falcons-Vikings earned a 50.6 rating in Atlanta
         and a 47.7 in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Denver and Minneapolis
         both had viewer shares topping 80% (Richard Sandomir, N.Y.
         TIMES, 1/19).  NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay notes that "The NFL
         Today" on CBS took a "major hit" from the overtime Falcons-
         Vikings game, as the show earned a "paltry" 2.6/5, compared
         to a 9.4/24 last year (NEWSDAY, 1/19).  In Detroit, Steve
         Crowe wrote that the NFL gave CBS permission for a 12-minute
         start delay with the NFC game in OT (FREE PRESS, 1/18). 
              SUPER LINEUP OF TEAMS? DAILY VARIETY's Richard Morgan
         writes that this year's Super Bowl advertisers "have reason
         to be content" with the contestants, as the game features
         the U.S.'s 10th-largest market against its 18th-largest
         market.  Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Vince Wladika:
         "We got returning champions in Denver.  And Atlanta's going
         to deliver the entire Southeast" (VARIETY, 1/19).

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Falcons, CBS, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, NBC, New York Jets, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Media, Viacom

              MA-based is joining with the NFL to
         "deploy its digital collectibles technology on all on-line
         venues of the league and its teams," according to Gregg
         Krupa of the BOSTON GLOBE.  The relationship allows the NFL 
         to "create protected interactive content" that can be
         downloaded by computer users.  The two companies will
         "comanufacture and comarket" NFL branded materials,
         including interactive games and icons.  The league, which is
         expected to use the on-line service to sell collectibles,
         currently sells less than 1% of its projected $3B annual
         license-product market on-line.  Deal details are expected
         to be announced today (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/19).
         Rofe reports that Pistons Owner William Davidson and two
         other individuals invested a total of $5M into CA-based
         Praja Inc., which produces interactive highlight videos and
         stat package for NCAA Div. I football team Web sites.  Praja
         hopes to use the "infusion" to expand into the NFL, MLB, NBA
         or MLS (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/18 issue).  

    Print | Tags: Detroit Pistons, MLB, MLS, NBA, NCAA, NFL, Media
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